Cancer Council Queensland has welcomed action by the Townsville City Council to make the Flinders Street precinct smoke free.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Kim Ryan said the move would further reduce the prevalence of smoking in Townsville.
“We commend Townsville City Council for responding to the wishes of the community to make Flinders Street smoke free.
“Townsville has a higher prevalence of smoking, at 17 per cent, than the state average of 14 per cent,” Ms Ryan said.
“Making Flinders Street smoke free will protect people from the harmful effects of smoking, encourage more smokers to quit, and prevent more young people from taking up this lethal habit.”
Ms Ryan said Cancer Council would continue to call on Members of Parliament to introduce statewide smoke free spaces at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and malls.
“There is no safe level of smoking or passive smoking, and Cancer Council Queensland will continue to call on the State Government to create a smoke free future for Queensland,” Ms Ryan said.
“Under laws passed in 2009, the State Government gave local councils the power to implement designated smoke free public places, a move that has proven ineffective.
“We urgently need statewide smoke free places in State Legislation – at bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls.
“We know that most smokers want to quit, and each year about 10,000 of them are successful in Queensland – but many more would quit if the State Government would introduce statewide laws creating smoke free spaces.”
Smoking is estimated to cost the Queensland economy more than $6 billion each year, causing 3,422 deaths and resulting in over 35,000 hospitalisations.
“Nearly one in five of all male deaths in Queensland and one in 10 female deaths are caused by smoking each year, and 46 per cent of smoking related deaths occur in people under the age of 75,” Ms Ryan said.
“Community support for smoke free spaces is higher than ever, with majority non-smokers and fewer than 15 per cent of the adult population smoking daily.
“We call on the State Government to deliver on its commitment to protect the health of all Queenslanders by fast-tracking the creation of smoke free bus stops, taxi ranks, ferry terminals, and pedestrian malls.”
According to Queensland Health data, there would be 6000 fewer adult daily smokers in Townsville if the percentage of people smoking daily was reduced to the Brisbane rate.
It’s estimated around 3000 Queenslanders will die from a tobacco-related disease each year. About 300 of these deaths are caused by second-hand smoke exposure.
Smokers can obtain free information, practical assistance and support from Quitline, 13 QUIT (13 7848), or join the QUEST to quit at www.quest.org.au.
For more information, please contact:
Kim Ryan, Senior Media Specialist, Cancer Council Queensland P. (07) 3634 5239 M. 0488 015 702